Types and Uses of Surgical Scalpels

Surgical scalpels are precision knives used for incising and excising human tissue. These blades are individually designed based on their specific purposes, and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Reusable vs. Disposable

  • Reusable scalpels have disposable blades attached to reusable handles.
  • Disposable scalpels often come in plastic handles and retractable blades and are to be used only once.

There are over 67 types of scalpel blades and 27 types of handles, so scalpels can be used in different combinations.

Handles and Blades

Handles come in two main types: flat and round. Round handles are used for curved cuts. Some handles are designed to match a particular hand hold.

  • Beaver style (no.7) - used for close and precise cuts; shaped like a pen
  • Bard Parker style (no. 3) - has a metric ruler
  • Siegel style - designed for curved incisions

Each type of blade is designed for a specific use, too. Take for example the following:

  • No. 10 - with rounded end and used for skin incisions
  • No. 11 - has a pointed end and used for drainage

Blade materials also vary. The following are materials blades are commonly made of:

  • carbon steel
  • diamond
  • cynical tempered
  • titanium
  • stainless
  • ceramic

Carbon steel blades are medical-grade and the most commonly found type in the medical industry owing to the material’s flexibility and durability. Diamond blades are for high-end use and feature extremely sharp precision blades.

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